We always recommend that prospective students and potential partners take a look at our blog posts to get a better idea of what the Center is all about. In a recent post on Revisiting Montana’s Historic Landscape, Dr. Van West shares some spectacular images from vast Beaverhead County in the southwest corner of Montana. Roads Less Traveled in Beaverhead County emphasizes the significance of transportation in such a remote place. On Southern Rambles, Lydia Simpson recounts her recent visit to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for community outreach. Open Secrets: Preserving a Controversial Past looks at community efforts to preserve and promote the Secret City.
CHP staff and students have recently launched several projects with partners in Memphis as that city seeks to use its heritage for greater cultural and economic development. Among the projects that will share the city’s remarkable African American, music, and neighborhood history will be a driving tour of the Soulsville neighborhood. Soulsville is home to Centenary United Methodist Church, which hosted the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Civil Rights movement.
Following up on the CHP’s 2011 Heritage Development Plan for the Clay County Courthouse (1873), we will be working with the Upper Cumberland Development District and community members to create exhibit panels for the building, which no longer houses court functions. The community envisions the courthouse becoming a Culture and Welcome Center, and the exhibit panels will tell the rich history of Celina, Clay Co., and the Upper Cumberland region.
Summer is the time for county fairs in Tennessee, and many of our county fairs do a great job of featuring their local Tennessee Century Farms. To read more about Tennessee Century Farms and county fairs, check out Laura Holder’s recent blog article “Bright Lights, Big County (Fairs, That Is!”). You can also learn more about the program and engage with some of our Tennessee Century Farmers on the program’s Facebook page.
The Center for Historic Preservation is ready to kick off another new semester! We are excited to have a great group of graduate students with us as we start work on an exciting array of projects, such as the Santa Fe Trail, the Universal Life Insurance Building in Memphis, and the Rhea County Courthouse, just to name a few. A special welcome to our new students: Colbi Hogan, Brandon Owens, and Harris Abernathy.
In early August, members of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Black Caucus presented funds to begin work on transforming the Allen-White School site in Whiteville, TN, into the Allen White Cultural and Community Center. In the 1910s, African American community members in Whiteville contributed $9,000, the largest sum raised to match Rosenwald funds in Tennessee, for the construction of a state-of-the-art educational facility for their children. The school, also known as the Hardeman County Training School, closed in 1970 after local integration. CHP staff placed the Allen-White School on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. We’re thrilled to see such progress at an incredibly important site!
Amy Kostine, the CHP’s Trail of Tears project historian, is assisting the Hiwassee River Heritage Center in the development of new exhibits, following up on her significant contributions to the center’s original exhibits a few years ago. Fieldwork coordinator Savannah Grandey will be assisting with the project. The interpretive center is a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Fort Cass, the U.S. military headquarters for the Trail of Tears removal, was located in present-day Charleston. Exhibits at the interpretive center also explore the Civil War history of the area and the wartime significance of the Hiwassee River.
Savannah joined the Center at the end of June, and we are thrilled that she is with us as our fieldwork coordinator. A former graduate research assistant at the Center, Savannah received her MA in Public History from MTSU in 2014. Her thesis used mid-century government photography to analyze the rural landscape of the New Deal and the constant evolution of those landscapes as farmers continued to use state-of-the-art technology to conserve natural resources. Prior to joining the Center, she was the Director of Interpretation and Historic Buildings at Historic Westville in Columbus, Georgia. Her research interests include the intersection of human rights and historic preservation, rural landscapes, and Muscogee Creek history and culture.
It’s a busy summer as usual for our Teaching with Primary Sources–MTSU program! In addition to the TPS–MTSU Summer Institute, which took place in Brownsville this year, TPS—MTSU has also conducted workshops in Lebanon, Crossville, and Cleveland. A workshop focused on Reconstruction in partnership with the Tennessee State Library and Archives will be followed by National History Day workshops in partnership with the Tennessee Historical Society. If you’re an educator interested in learning more about TPS–MTSU and available workshops for in-service hours, please see the program Web site for a schedule and more information.
We received an overwhelming number of excellent proposals for our new Professional Services Partnerships, a new project selection process we introduced this year. Thanks to all who helped spread the word, and thanks especially to the organizations across the state and region who took the time to craft application packets that are sure to make our decision a difficult one. Center for Historic Preservation staff members are reviewing applications and conducting any necessary site visits to learn more about the proposed projects. Look for more updates in the coming weeks!